New federal contractor hiring guidelines could make qualified workers with disabilities popular candiates.

In recent years, anyone who has been out of work more than six months has had trouble finding a job, and returning to work has been even more difficult for people who have been out of work because of an illness or injury that affects their ability to concentrate or handle the activities of daily living, such as walking.

But the U.S. Labor Department may have changed the picture in August, when it issued “Section 503″ regulations that require most government contractors to set a goal of having at least 7 percent of their workers be disabled workers.

Think Beyond the Label, a coalition that tries to help connect employers and people with disabilities, is working with Brazen Careerist to take advantage of the new “Section 503″ market for workers with disabilities by scheduling a series of online job fairs aimed at job seekers with disabilities and employers seeking to meet Section 503 hiring goals.

The online job fairs are also open to other employers, job fair organizers say.

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